12 Strongest Cocktails You Should Know About

There are a lot of reasons to drink cocktails. They're delicious, they can elevate a meal, they're expressions of creativity, and many are steeped in history. While all of these reasons are important, at the end of the day, plenty of people enjoy cocktails because they contain alcohol — and some contain a lot more than others.

Some cocktails are low-proof enough to enjoy several, while others are so strong that just one or two of them can make you feel buzzed. There's a time and place for everything, and it's important to know which drinks are known for being strong so you can make informed choices about your beverages.

Some cocktails are notorious for being boozy (more on that, later), while others might surprise you with their alcohol content. You can't go on taste alone, since there are plenty of cocktails out there that taste "tame," but that pack a serious punch. Whether you're looking for a way to get a party started, or you want to know which drinks you should avoid at a happy hour with your boss, we're here to teach you about the strongest cocktails you can find. If you're looking for something boozy, these cocktails are the way to go.

Long Island Iced Tea

Let's kick things off with a cocktail that's about as notorious as it gets for packing a serious punch. We're not going to beat around the bush here: While there are definitely ways to upgrade your Long Island Iced Tea, it generally makes bartenders cringe when you order one because their consumption often leads to problems. Most people who order Long Island Iced Teas know exactly what they're doing, which is packing as much booze as possible into a cup. We're not necessarily saying that's a bad thing, but we are saying that there are a lot of people out there who don't know their limits (which is why many bars actually have rules about how many Long Island Iced Teas patrons are allowed to drink).

The LIT's infamous bad reputation should come as no surprise because this beverage features the entire gamut of clear liquors. Light rum, tequila, vodka, and gin all make an appearance, along with triple sec, sour mix, and cola. Though this cocktail's connotations might not surprise you, if you've never had one, we can pretty much assure you that the taste will. Despite the potent contents, Long Island Iced Tea is shockingly drinkable — so proceed with extreme caution and don't get carried away. This is exactly what we mean we when say that you can't go on taste alone.


We can't talk about this cocktail without making a joke about how drinking a few of these will put you on the fast track to feeling like a zombie the next morning. Now that we have that out of the way, we can move on to telling you why a Zombie is one of the strongest cocktails you can order.

First of all, the Zombie features four types of rum. We're not just talking about a hint of each, either. Second of all, one of the aforementioned rums is overproof, which is liquor-speak for extra strength. So, not only is there a hefty dose of booze in this drink, but some of the booze in question is especially high-octane.

This cocktail also contains enough other ingredients (including grenadine and cinnamon syrup) to make it taste like a slurp-able concoction rather than the alcohol bomb that it is. If you're on vacation (or just wish you were), give this cocktail a shot if you want a quick buzz. As a word of warning, most Tiki drinks contain more alcohol than you'd imagine, so don't let their tasty tropical flavors fool you.


While some super strong drinks are known as go-to's for when you want to get rowdy (read: Long Island Iced Teas), martinis are known for being refined, elegant, and classy. While we can't argue that sipping on a martini feels like the height of drinking luxury, we're also here to tell you that martinis are all booze — so don't fall into the trap of thinking a few martinis won't leave you making the same questionable decisions as Long Islands. We promise you won't care how classy you look drinking these if you wake up feeling like death after a few too many.

The most important thing to remember if you're making a martini at home is that you need to measure your liquor if you don't want to accidentally find yourself stumbling out of the kitchen. This is because the volume is deceiving, and most martini glasses hold way more liquid than anyone needs to drink at once if we're talking about pure booze. Similarly, be weary of martinis you order in bars where the bartenders don't measure. If they hand you a giant martini glass filled to the brim, just be careful.

If you opt for a wet martini, it will help quell the alcohol content slightly.  However, most people opt for extra dry, which amps up the liquor levels even more since doing so means omitting the dry vermouth (which while still boozy, is less so than vodka or gin).

Tokyo Tea

If you thought a Long Island Iced was the only cocktail with the ability to miraculously merge a slew of liquors you'd think would clash in a drinkable way, think again. A Tokyo Tea uses the same dangerously strong blend of tequila, light rum, gin, vodka, and triple sec, but it also adds yet another boozy ingredient — Midori. The drink also uses lemon-lime soda in lieu of the usual cola.

The result is a bright green concoction that has a pleasant melon flavor, and that will also give you a buzz in a hurry. There are a whopping six alcoholic ingredients in this one, so it's not for the faint of heart. It's not as popular as its American cousin, but it can be a fun novelty drink if you want something strong. Since this drink is so brightly hued, we can almost promise you that you're going to have people asking what you're drinking — so just be ready to explain that you're drinking a cocktail that contains a laundry list of liquors. They're going to know you're ready to have a good time.

Grateful Dead

If green isn't your color, but you still want an extra-strong, Long-Island-esque cocktail, try a Grateful Dead. This riff on a LIT starts with (you guessed it) tequila, light rum, gin, vodka, and triple sec. However, the drink branches out from the original LIT recipe because it also includes Chambord, which makes it purple. Club soda is added instead of cola to top off the boozy mix.

This isn't super common, but most bars stock all the ingredients needed to make this cocktail. As long as you ask nicely, and don't seem like the type of customer who is going to cause trouble after drinking something so potent, the bartender should be able to make you a Grateful Dead. Besides urging you to consume with caution for health, safety, and dignity reasons, we also urge you to be careful about the type of bar in which you order a Grateful Dead (or any LIT variation) for financial reasons. If you're at a bar where the well liquor is still considered the "good stuff," don't be surprised if this drink costs you a pretty penny. If you order this at a cocktail bar, you might be in for some serious sticker shock.

Death in the Afternoon

If the name doesn't sound ominous enough, this drink's list of ingredients certainly will (at least in terms of ABV). Now, don't let us scare you. While the main appeal of plenty of the drinks on this list is their high alcohol content, this one is different because it's an interesting, refined classic we wish more people knew about. It's simple, and a great cocktail to try if you like drinking Champagne (and really, who doesn't?).

This boozy elixir is made with just two ingredients: Champagne and absinthe. If you've ever had either on their own, you can imagine how much of a punch the combination of the two packs is. Not all bars carry absinthe, but the overall vibe of this drink leans a bit dark and mysterious, so it's better suited for a fancy, dimly-lit cocktail bar, anyway.

We could end this by making a joke about how if you drink too many of these you'll feel like death the next afternoon, but that would just be too easy. If you've ever had the experience, you probably wouldn't find it funny anyway.

French 75

Anytime a cocktail uses more booze as the "mixer," you know you're in for a strong drink. A French 75 takes basic cocktail ingredients (gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup), and then mixes them with more alcohol in the form of Champagne. This booze-on-booze combo is about as tasty as it gets in our opinion, but don't let the taste lure you into a false sense of comfort. Trust us, these drinks are strong.

In fact, this cocktail was named after a World War 1 weapon that was known for its power and strength. Something about drinking out of a flute or coupe (which these drinks are served in) also seems to make cocktails go down easier, so try to pace yourself if you're drinking French 75s.

If you're hosting a party at home and want something delicious that's going to get everyone feeling festive in a hurry, try whipping up French 75s. They're easy to make and easy to love. Just be sure to pay attention to how many you're serving to each guest.

Aunt Roberta

This one is admittedly somewhat obscure, but if you really want to expand your (heavy) drinking repertoire, you need to know about Aunt Roberta. Its list of liquors rivals Long Island Iced Tea with its brandy, gin, absinthe, and Chambord, but the Aunt Roberta ups the ante by omitting any non-alcoholic mixers. That's right — the Aunt Roberta is a glass of four straight liquors, and nothing else. If you have a mix of liquors on your bar cart that you'd like to use up, this certainly fits the bill for combining a unique mix.

Sure, it may look classy since it's served up in a martini glass, but this cocktail is not messing around. If you're the type of person who is sensitive to mixing liquors, this drink is going to be your worst nightmare. If you're the type of person who's willing to try anything once, we recommend just that — having only one of these babies. In our opinion, this one falls into the category of being strong for the sake of being strong, but who are we to judge? Sometimes it's ok to drink just for the sake of drinking.

Corpse Reviver No. 2

By now, you're probably sensing the theme that many strong drinks have rather macabre names. Make what you will of that pattern, but we can assure you that this morbid-sounding cocktail is anything but light on the alcohol. The Corpse Reviver No. 2 recipe features a powerful mix of gin, Lillet blanc, and triple sec, and unlike some strong cocktails that are 100% booze, lemon juice. The glass is rinsed with absinthe, which (thankfully) is dumped out since this drink really doesn't need any more liquor.

Despite its boozy ingredients, the Corpse Reviver No. 2 is easier to drink than you might think and almost resembles a sour. We highly recommend trying one the next time you're at a reputable cocktail bar. Plus, the bartender is going to be a lot more impressed if you order one of these than they will be if you order a Long Island Iced Tea. The Corpse Reviver No. 1 could probably be included on this list as well, but the second version is a lot more popular in modern drinking culture. Some (brave) people also like this one as a brunch cocktail, but your day is going to unfold a lot differently than if you opted for mimosas.


If you're looking for the most efficient way to drink liquor in terms of maximizing alcohol consumption while minimizing volume, your best bet is probably a shot or a pour of straight liquor. If you like the idea of not adding too much liquid but want something a little more palatable than drinking liquor on its own, we have the perfect cocktail for you — the Sazerac. This New Orleans classic contains rye (preferably Sazerac Rye), Pechud's bitters, sugar, and an absinthe rinse. It's served neat in a rocks glass with a lemon twist, so visually, it looks similar to a straight shot (a straight shot that's been thoughtfully garnished, that is).

Sugar, bitters, and spirit are the building blocks of many beverages, so don't let the lack of ice fool you. This still definitely tastes like a delicious cocktail and a strong one at that. While some strong drinks are deceivingly so, this one makes it pretty clear that you're drinking something potent.

Old Fashioned

There's nothing like a classic Old Fashioned — and there's pretty much nothing as strong, either. Just like a Sazerac, Old Fashioneds don't veer far from their boozy backbone. There are plenty of different ways to make an Old Fashioned, but the general idea is that you mix and serve whiskey, Angostura bitters, and sweeter over ice, and garnish with an expressed orange peel. Some versions feature cherries or a muddled orange, but every variation has its high ABV in common.

Despite being adjacent to sipping straight booze, bartenders don't usually get scared when someone orders an Old Fashioned. This is because unlike, say, a French 75, which is easy to guzzle, it's pretty hard to chug on Old Fashioned. The strength naturally slows you down, and it's pretty much impossible to forget you're drinking something strong with this one. Order this when you want to slowly savor a delicious classic cocktail, and don't be afraid to experiment with different types of bourbons and whiskies until you find one you love.


Negronis are known for being two things: boozy and bitter. Made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, there's nothing in this one to cut the alcohol content. The bitter nature of the drink serves as a constant reminder that what you're drinking isn't meant for people who shy away from liquor.

They're one of those drinks that some people love, and some people absolutely hate. We're on the former team, and we think that if you're going to drink something strong, you might as well drink a Negroni. Gin isn't your only option, either. You can make a Negroni with Mezcal, which adds a delicious, smokey element, or with bourbon, which makes it sweeter (this version is called a Boulevardier).

Since Negronis don't tend to be most people's first go-to drinks, most of the time people who like them are experienced drinkers who can handle their liquor. This means bartenders tend to smile in approval rather than grimace when you order this one. If you want something bitter without quite as much booze, you can try a Negroni Spagliato, which replaces the gin with bubbly. Don't get us wrong though, it will still be potent.